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Proverbs 17

The quickest way to destroy a relationship is to throw a loved one’s past offenses into his or her face. The bond will either die a slow death or it will jump off of a cliff. The human spirit was not designed to withstand such unforgiveness. If Jesus could forgive those who hung Him naked from a cross to die a tortured death in front of His own mother, then how can we hold grudges against each other for far less transgressions? It just boggles my mind!

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES I recently heard a pastor’s sermon in which he said offenses will certainly come if you’re in relationship with another human. And, we must have policies in place before offenses occur, so that we will know how to manage them when (not if) they come. Obviously, God knew this. The One Who created the universe crafted a plan by which mankind could shed the transgressions He knew we would commit against Him and against each other. The Old Testament is full of laws to address offenses of all kinds.

MASTER PLAN But, His master plan was to send us a Savior Who would carry our offenses to the cross, and purge us of them forever. All we would have to do is repent (of course), love Him, and obey His instructions to love and forgive each other. Did Jesus’ offenders ask for His forgiveness? Nope. But, did He forgive them anyway? Absolutely. That’s what the Gospels teach us, and that’s why it’s crucial that we actually read them. How dare we expect forgiveness from our Lord, yet hold onto grudges? How dare we throw daggers by reminding each other of past offenses that God already forgave?

WWJD When we do this, we find ourselves in a dangerous place of disobedience. We separate ourselves from His Divine protection. We block our line of communication with Him. And, that’s when the enemy throws a party in our own back yard, inviting all of his co-conspirators to feast on the carcasses of our dying relationships. So, we could either inject our relationships with these life-giving words that we read in Proverbs, or we can plan their funerals by continuing to poison them with unforgiveness. What would Jesus do?